November 2, 2016
All marketing research firms struggle with sales.
Large or small, consumer-focused or B2B, domestic or multi-national. Every market research firm I’ve ever spoken with – at least at some point – has struggled with sales and the delicate balance of managing their existing clients while attempting to bring on new ones.
Much has been discussed about this situation over the years, and in my conversations many hypotheses have been put forth. I’ve heard that market research suppliers are primarily introverts, with a tendency to avoid the sales process as much as possible. I’ve heard that market research firms employing the “seller-doer” model have issues because clients always come first, and little time is left for proactive sales. I’ve heard that MR firms with sales people have an exceptionally difficult time attracting great talent. And I’ve heard that corporate researchers are often risk averse, remiss to change their current suppliers.
The reality is, it doesn’t really matter why the role of sales is difficult in the market research industry, because we still need to bring on a regular new stream of clients to keep our firms safe and strong.
At Bridgemark, we believe that the keys to selling more research services are simple – certainly not easy, but simple:
- Figure out what your firm is good at, how you bring value to clients, and what you enjoy working on
- Develop a good list of company targets, built on specific company profiles
- Identify the right people in those companies who are likely to be interested in and use your services
- Introduce yourself and get their attention in a polite, professional way
- Engage the prospect in a one-on-one needs analysis and capabilities presentation, while establishing a strong sense of credibility, and
- Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.
We plan on developing this blog to serve as a resource for you to identify areas of improvement in your sales process, and to offer some fresh ideas, tips, best practices and solutions to help you improve. We recognize as well that you might require some assistance in some of these areas at some point — and if so, perhaps you’ll consider the Bridgemark team to help you out.
Thank you for visiting our site, and I really hope you find it beneficial. If you have any questions or ideas that I could address in another article, I’d love to hear from you. We regularly pilot new ideas and strategies in real-world campaigns, and we will share those results with you as we learn from them. We hope that we can, in some meaningful way, benefit our whole industry.
Good selling…and here’s to “professional persistence”!
President, Bridgemark Solutions